Court junks ex-senator's appeal on aunt's inheritance-A A +A
Sunday, September 9, 2012
A THREE-MAN division of the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld its decision against the petition of former senator Maria Ana "Jamby" Madrigal questioning the last will and testament of her late billionaire aunt, Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal-Collantes.
Penned by Associate Justice Socorro Inting, the CA’s former Eleventh Division denied Madrigal’s motion for reconsideration and sustained the assailed orders of the Makati regional trial court dated July 14, 2010 and November 9, 2010.
The appellate court said the former lawmaker failed to raise any new issues or arguments in her motion for reconsideration to warrant the reversal of the CA’s February 29, 2012 decision.
“After carefully considering the grounds raised in the subject motion, this Court finds that the said grounds and the arguments in support thereof have been amply treated, discussed and passed upon in the assailed decision. The additional arguments proffered therein constitute neither cogent nor compelling reason to modify. Much less reverse it,” the CA ruled.
Concurring with Inting were Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas-Peralta and Mario Lopez.
The CA, in its February decision, found that the trial court through Judge Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles of the Makati RTC Branch 143 did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing Madrigal’s notice of appeal and record on appeal on the probate of her aunt, who died on March 24, 2008.
The CA said Madrigal “failed to present any persuasive reason that could convince us as well as the lower court to relax the rules.”
Madrigal had sought to take part in the disposition, settlement and distribution of Chito’s estate, estimated at about P26 billion, to her heirs, and even to those not mentioned in her will.
Based on records, when Chito died at age 87, Madrigal was left out of her last will and testament, prompting the former lawmaker to invalidate the will before the trial court.
Upon her death, Chito’s vast estate was left to her husband, former Foreign Minister Manuel Collantes, as the lone compulsory heir since they did not have a child of their own. Collantes died a year later on May 29, 2009.
Among the properties being contested by Madrigal are a house in Ayala Alabang and a South Forbes Park house in Makati.
According to the trial court, Chito’s will had covered the entirety of her estate and been properly disposed of in her last will executed October 5, 2006, two years prior to the philanthropist’s death.
However, over a year after the death of Chito, two of nephews and heirs, Juan Vicente De Leon-Rufino and Vicente De Leon-Rufino, initiated a petition for issuance of letters testamentary/administration before Makati RTC branch 143, since Collantes as testatrix, is already dead.
The action was opposed by then senator Madrigal through a notice of appeal and record on appeal, but both were junked by the trial court, prompting her to elevate the matter before the appellate court.
This suit is separate from another pending case involving the will’s executors, lawyer Perry Pe and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) president Aurelio Montinola III, who questioned before the CA the ruling of Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Makati RTC Branch 148, which held that the former senator has the legal personality to participate in the probate proceedings of her aunt’s last will and testament, based on rules on legal succession.
Included in the subject estate are shares in 18 corporations including Aquatic Food Center Inc., Ceus Realty Corp., Chela Realty Corp., Chine Realty Corp., Chirpy Realty Corp., and C. Hito Realty Corp.
Some of these corporations were realty companies owning sizable properties, including two parcels of land at Forbes Park, Makati City; four office condominium units in Makati City; two houses and lots in Ayala Alabang; two condominium units at the Pinnacle Condominium in Mandaluyong City; one condominium unit at Two Salcedo Place condominium in Makati City; and two condominium units at Three Salcedo Place condominium also in Makati. (JCV/Sunnex)